UK set to gain jobs as Cookson juggles

Cookson, the materials, electronics and engineering group, is set to transfer its Belgian ceramics operations to Sheffield. The move is part of a global restructuring which has resulted in hundreds of redundancies, most of which have been outside the UK. Chief executive Stephen Howard said: `We would expect the overall effect on jobs in the […]

Cookson, the materials, electronics and engineering group, is set to transfer its Belgian ceramics operations to Sheffield.

The move is part of a global restructuring which has resulted in hundreds of redundancies, most of which have been outside the UK. Chief executive Stephen Howard said: `We would expect the overall effect on jobs in the UK to be positive.’

The ceramics division, which makes refractory systems and other products for steel and glass manufacturing, has been hit by poor profits in the steel sector.

Cookson is hoping to expand its electronics division, which makes materials and equipment for circuit board production. The company, believed to have up to £400m to spend, said it is examining several possible acquisition targets in areas including North America, where it is already strong, and the UK. It is also interested in the Asian markets.

Expansion is also expected at the company’s Birmingham-based precious metals operation, with a move into Europe.

Further disposals are less likely after Cookson sold its fibres business earlier this year. `If we have to pay for an acquisition, then we may sell off part of the company, but that’s not our priority,’ said Howard.